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Changing roles and appetizing orange rolls

By Staff | Sep 24, 2010

It’s good to be back in North Dakota again. Last week my Dad and I traveled to Palmer, Alaska where the cabbages grow to unreal beauty and the beets can be the size of footballs. All those long hours of daylight bring fantastic garden treasures. My Dad will be staying with my younger brother Kelly, his wife Lois, and their five children. My dad is in transition; he no longer can live alone.

Traveling with my parents has always been a great joy. Previously, we had made the trip to Alaska when both Mom and Dad were able to journey with light assistance. Our days there were fun -filled and certainly memorable First of all, you must realize that out of my parents’ five sons, Kelly, received the greatest sense of adventure. He also is very willing to include my parents on many of his adventures. Being connoisseurs of spectacular landscapes, the vast beauty of Alaska geared us all up. Before we knew it, we were willing to try anything!

You can image my caution, however, when he wanted to take my Mom and Dad halibut fishing-especially when they were both over 80, and Mom recently had her knee replaced. Lois was also six months pregnant! Kelly won out, and soon we were all fishing out in the deep water for halibut. Kelly was delighted. Meanwhile, I’m keeping my eyes on the deep blue swelling waves and how very small Anchor Bay was becoming. This was truly out of my comfort zone; especially when we started having trouble with the boat motor.

Divine intervention has always been my best friend, and when the motor finally started, praises were acclaimed. Kelly is an able-bodied fisherman, and the catches soon began. Watching my Dad and Kelly reel in beautiful halibut in a harmonious duet put my mind at ease about the perils of this sea. The urge to join their song of joy was pressing on me. It may have been a coincidence; however, with the amount of praying I had been doing, it just had to be divine intervention! My fishing line tugged, and it was easy to tell that a very thriving halibut and I were soon to make a connection.

As the late golden afternoon brought us back to shore and we admired our healthy catch, I realized that this journey was so much more than fishing. We helped our exhausted parents out of the boat, and the contentment that exited with them will remain with me forever. It had been a perfect day. As we drove home, the impact of the sun, open sea air, and excitement of the day caused all to slumber-except Kelly and I-thankfully as he was driving!

As Kelly glanced into the rear view mirror, we made that connection that brothers make when they know their parents are silently, yet heartily, applauding the efforts of their offspring. It was a moment that we both realized we had given back something to our parents for all the things they had so generously given us in our youth. In the same moment, we both knew our roles as sons and parents were beginning the reversal passage.

Last Friday before Dad and I headed off to the Minot Airport, we stopped by the Prairieview Nursing Home to see Mom. As Dad kissed Mom goodbye, his parting words were “Now remember–that will have to last you until I get back.” Mom smiled and said, “Have a wonderful time.” In all the changes that have taken place with my parents in the past two years, two things remain strong–the deep connection that my parents have as husband and wife and their willingness to adapt to change.

Even though my mother was not along on this journey, she was there in spirit. As the plane came into Minneapolis, I looked out the window and spotted one brilliant orange tree among a sea of green. My first thought was how Mom would enjoy that dazzling orange autumn tree. Orange also reminds me of one of her recipes-orange rolls-which are great anytime of the year! Enjoy Autumn!

Repnow is a Rugby resident.

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